Gaijin Housewife in Japan

Bringing you every day life in Japan to your part of the world.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Today's Ikebana

Hello all

Today's Ikebana unfortunately resembles last week's Ikebana rather a lot as we are practicing for a test in a couple of weeks time.

We were using pussy willow again and this time I decided to shake things up a bit by peeling off the red outer skin exposing the cute silver buds. Rather festive I thought. We also used chrysanthemums and eucalyptus.
This is what my class mate made:

I think this photo was taken after we moved the arrangement, and before we noticed some of the stems had moved into an odd place. Woops!

For afternoon tea we had mini cheese cake and a special hot ginger drink which also has lotus root powder in it. It makes the drink a bit like very watery paste but the ginger really warmed me up and I even broke into a bit of a sweat. So I think I am going to get some and have it every evening to get my circulation going so I don't get freezing cold feet. For some reason this photo is up the wrong way but I am way past being able to figure out how to fix it so you will all have to bare with me sorry. : )
For those of you interested in the ginger drink here is the link


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Some of my new favorite things

In my efforts to become less caffeine dependent I have started drinking decaf iced coffee from Nescafe.
Now that it's getting on to winter, I wanted some hot decaf coffee. A friend I visited last week just happened to show me a jar of Nescafe instant decaf coffee that she had so I was finally able to find some in the supermarket. The Japanese for decaf was written in such tiny writing it's no wonder that I couldn't find it when I searched before. I'm not sure if its the fact that I live outside of a big city, but there certainly seems to be a distinct lack of decaf coffee here in Japan. K is a coffee conoiseur, or at least likes to think he is one. So we only have freshly roasted coffee beans in our house which must only be ground a few minutes before making coffee and then done with a drip cup thingee to his specifications. Now I just throw some instant coffee into the cup, add hot water and presto! For instant decaf I have to say Nescafe does a nice coffee!

Now a totally unrelated product which I have just started using but am quite impressed with is my Uno Fog Bar.
It's name doesn't give you too many hints as to what it is exactly. It's actually men's hair styling product. I have been using men's hair styling product for several years now after I discovered American Crew Grooming Spray. My hair is so flat and straight that any product that makes my hair heavy doesn't work. Although this spray is not impossible to get here it is pricy so I thought I would investigate other products and decided to try the newest one which was the Uno Fog Bar Blue. Red is the hardest type, then white up to blue which is supposed to help your hair to be airy rather than hard and my hair needs all the air it can get.
Now usually 30 minutes after I have done my hair it has returned to something like its natural state so when I got home from work and my hair still looked "airy" I was sold on this particular product. There is no smell, masculine or feminine to this product which I also like.
I had to laugh as when I went to buy it at the drug store there was this guy who was doing laps of the aisle as he obviously was having trouble deciding if he needed the red or could manage with the blue because white was already sold out.

Do you have any favourite products you have found recently?

To visit the PILs or not to visit the PILs

My DH, has had an epiphany of late.
It has only taken him until now to realise that family is quite important. That would be 38 years and 4 months to be exact.
I'm not sure what triggered this but tonight the topic of "What are we going to do this New Year's Vacation" came up again.
So far possible destinations have been: New Zealand (too expensive), Stuttgart (too far, all friends will be away, freezing cold), Turkey (that was just a bit of dreaming really), Hong Kong (besides eating ourselves stupid, not so much we want to do there), Kyoto and my husband's home town (a bit boring since we have done this many times).

K said that we should think about going to his family's house, to which I said that it is SO far away (5 hours from Kyoto to be exact and we live in Tohoku!) and when we get there, we will effectively be in the middle of nowhere, freezing cold, no high speed internet AND I will have to sleep on a "senbei futon" or "rice cracker futon - that's how thin and hard they can be. I have actually developed a system now that involves piling up as many futons, and duvets as possible and sleeping on that. Somehow, K always ends up squeezing himself onto my futon as it is way more comfy than the bed he makes for himself.

I asked him why he suddenly wanted to go all the way to his family's house, since we were there in March and visiting more than once a year is very unusual for us. He said that he has started to realise that he should try to spend more time with his parents whilst they are still around...I think that this is a very positive thing since I thought he might leave it until it was too late and then wish he had spent more time with his parents when he could. Now, if they only lived a few hours drive away from us, that would be great. However getting there is complete mission that involves huge amounts of money for the the plane tickets from airports that aren't even anywhere near where we live or where we are going! Another cheaper option is the dreaded overnight bus which I believe I swore I would never ever use again after last time but it looks like we will be doing that *shivers* I worked out the time door to door is about the same as it is to fly to New Zealand. Sunny NZ? Freezing cold middle of nowhere Japan? Can you see why I'm not thrilled.
Positive things about going to visit K's family are that his mum is the best cook and she always cooks our favourite things when we come and we always get sent home loaded with food and such goodies. Since my own family is even further away (technically, though not so much travelling time wise), I always love to have a chance to be with K's family and often cry when we leave much to my PIL's amusement/delight.

So I am going to be pulling out all the stops to convince K of the benefits of traveling in style (think bullet train) rather than 10 hours+ of torture on an overnight bus called "The Camel". Ugh.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

More tyre kicking: A Girl's impression of some Hondas.

So today, on my one full day off, K and I headed in to town to get some stuff. Inevitably the conversation turned to: "Which car dealer shall we go and annoy this weekend?".
The new  full model change Step Wagon has just come out and since we had been for a ride in the model that has just been replace not long ago, we had been considering that perhaps this might be a good option for a second car...

Now a Honda Step Wagon is a family sized box shaped van, and the new one is even more so since it is bigger than the old model. Basically I wanted to go and get this particular model crossed off our list of potential cars so that K can focus more on the realistic choices. We are kind of the official "Royalty" at the local Honda dealer as we have brought a car there before and they pretty much know it is just a matter of time until we buy A car...but in the mean time we are just royal pains in the bottom. We even have our very own personal sales person who deals with us every time we go and gets a thumbs up from me as he actually talks to me, asks me what I think of the various models etc, which is a big improvement on many of the dealers I have come across who think its better just to pretend I'm not there, or ask K where I'm from as if I can't even understand that much Japanese grrrrrr...

You might be wondering, why on earth I would write another posting about cars. Well the fact is that I actually quite like them. Since I have a husband who is a "Car Enthusiast", I have had to learn a lot about cars, but now I find I am quite interested in them myself. One of my motivations for being so interested though is so that K does not end up buying a car that I hate. Pretty good motivation I do have to say though K's choice in cars has been very good so far. I always end up loving the one he eventually buys and have been heart broken when we have had to sell them (thanks to his work sending us halfway around the world and back again, not because we like to buy and sell cars as a hobby or anything).

We test drove a Spada which is the sporty version of a Stepwagon (they have this ad promoting it as a car for Supa Dads) with 17 inch wheels and CVT (essentially it makes the automatic gear changes unnoticeable, so the ride is very smooth). Now I have to say, it was very pleasant and not like riding in a big box on wheels at all. The wheels and suspension made the handling feel stable and the CVT made it a very smooth quiet ride. The one we drove also had cameras installed to show you the rear, front and left front side of the vehicle and also helps you reverse park or paralel park by showing you where you will end up if you continue to reverse at a particular angle. Now I was particularly taken with this as it removes the main problem that I would have with driving a small bus around in Japan with its multitude of narrow streets and small parking lots.  The unfortunate thing is that this particular option requires you to purchase their rather expensive navigation system... The Spada also comes in a funky dark purple colour which the normal Stepwagon doesn't have. The estimate came back at around 2,700,000 (including the tax reduction + 17 inch wheels) yen....ouch. But if you are anticipating you will be driving around with 4-6 people a lot, going mountain biking or camping and possibly needing to sleep in it (the rear seats fold down into a make shift semi double bed arrangement), then this car really is an excellent could always live in it if you couldn't afford to pay your rent anymore.

Now we also looked at the next size down which is the FREED, you know the ad with Sean Lennon saying "Chodo ii Fureedo" - or Just the right(size) Freed. That came in at about 2,200,000 yen but the engine is only a 1.5L but a lot cheaper to run tax wise, better fuel economy etc. We test drove one a while ago and didn't like it as it didn't feel very stable and felt a bit gutless but our personal sales person said that he would let us borrow it for a day and see how we liked it if we wanted - that's how important we are ; ).

Personally I would be more than happy with a FIT (also known as a Jazz) again as we used to have one before we were shipped to Germany, especially since the latest model is quite a bit bigger than the old one, although they don't have the gear change buttons on the steering wheel anymore which I think is a bad move as they did help to improve control. The back seat is much more comfortable than it used to be and there is quite a lot of room in the boot which other similar sized cars just don't seem to have (my other favourite, the Mazda Axella included)...

So that is my summary of today's vehicles. If I imagine where I hope K and I will be in 5 years time, I think the Spada would be a great car to have. Not only does it look pretty cool for a people mover, it drives well and would be very versitile. But when I consider that for the next couple of years it is a bit of an over kill, the Fit seems like the best choice and that is without thinking about the price tag at all.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Shhh! Secret Squirrel!

Are you of an age where you remember that particular cartoon character?
My DH also affectionately known on my blog as "K" thinks squirrels are great and likes to keep his private life secret. I on the other hand spend my free time informing my millions of readers spread across the world of minute personal details...

Most people in Japan will be familiar with the "nomikai" - or "drinking party". These parties at my husband's work are pretty much compulsory. By compulsory I mean you are not told that you have to come, it is just understood that you don't have a choice not to come cause everyone else will be going because they also think everyone else will go...Some people like attending these work drinking parties, though my husband doesn't really enjoy them. He likes to keep work and private separate so going to a drinking party with his co-workers is not great fun for him.

Last night he had to go to one such party in town against his will. He somehow managed to get home safely on his bike, in the dark with a few beers under his belt. I wasn't prepared for the reek of alcohol and cigarette smoke that accompanied him. He was rather entertaining as he talks a lot more than usual when he drinks. It's like the alcohol opens up the conversation flood gates. Apparently he was the hot topic of conversation at last nights party as a wild rumor was doing the rounds in his section that he has...wait for it........

a foreign wife!

He reckons we were spotted out at the electronics store recently by one of his co-workers, because he certainly wouldn't be giving out personal info like that willy nilly round the office. I said: "Why didn't you say: Oh her. She is this weird foreign woman who washes my clothes and cooks food for me and I occasionally take her with me when I go shopping"- which is not too far from the truth. ; )
It appears there was some confusion as to whether I was German (since he has just been transferred back from there) or perhaps Australian, which is what most Japanese people remember when you tell them you are from NZ. Apparently they also wanted answers to other probing questions such as "How did you meet?". To which K probably answered "That's classified, if I told you I would have to kill you"......which is basically how K sees work people asking about his private life.
I can remember back when we first started getting serious and being mortified that he didn't tell anyone at his work or even his family that he had a girlfriend. Didn't that mean he was ashamed of me? Aparently not as we have been happily married for 5 years now and I have come to realise that my DH does not do "sharing" when it comes to information.

Am I the only one out there who's DH keeps his private life "top secret squirrel" from his co-workers?

"Always blow on the pie"

Hi yall

Thought I would share with you the latest NZ based Youtube sensation.

You may or may not be aware that in NZ, when one refers to "a pie", it is a understood that one wishes to buy a meat pie that looks rather like this. You will be hard pushed to find pie of any kind that has fruit in it.

Now this dodgy fellow was found wandering around at 3am, carrying a torch in an area where several cars had been broken into. The police stop him and ask him what he's up to....

I have to say I really love the deadpan way he delivers that cracker of a line:
"Always blow on the pie. Safer Communities together".

I have a soon to be brother in law who used to work in the most crime ridden part of NZ. He said police have to deal with the same wallies like the pie guy all the time - not so much the super slick criminals one sees on CSI. 

I also watched this particular police officer on a NZ News show. I think he was fantastic and the presenter did look like a real woofter compared to police man. Gotta love his taking it all in his stride attitude. But it is kind of freaky how something he said on TV 5 years ago can come back and be a huge sensation!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

This Week's Ikebana

Hello All

Have just come back from a lovely afternoon at Ikebana.

This time we were practicing a style called Nagere, which is where you balance the stems inside a tall vase and use various tricks and techniques to get them to stay in position. It can be very frustrating as one false move can mean everything gets messed up.

This is a photo I took once I got home and tried to re-create what I had done at my teacher's house. It is about a 80% failthful reproduction : )

This is what we had for afternoon tea.

Berry pie/danish and coffee. This photo is taken on my cell phone as I forgot my camera today. Boo : (

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I need to grow up

Tonight I was doing a lesson with a lovely new student who happens to work as a pharmacist. She obviously wants to improve her English so she can use it in her job dispensing medicine.

Now today, we were practicing telling people how to take/use medication. All was fine and dandy until we got to the bit about the suppositories...

I don't have anything against suppositories, actually I have been rather thankful for their existence after my appendix perforated and started to poison me, or the time my ovary started to grow a cyst that was so painful I thought this must be what child birth is like, but without the "bundle of joy" at the end.

So tonight I found myself saying in my best friendly, happy English teacher's voice:

"First, take the suppository out of the wrapper. Insert the pointed end deep into your rectum. Try to keep your rectum contracted for several seconds"....

I know. So very childish to laugh at that. I didn't laugh....but only just. Thank goodness I have hayfever today and have to clear my throat a lot, that kind of drowned out the snicker that was threatening to pop out.

I hope my student didn't notice, but she did seem more worried about the difficulties of pronouncing suppositories than the fact that she had just said rectum twice.

I had a similar problem when I started learning German. The word Fahrt in German is used a lot as in:
Gute Fahrt! Good Trip or Ausfahrt -exit. Do you think I could say that and keep a straight face during German class for the first few months? Thankfully I was the only English speaker in the class so also the only person who found it amusing. There are many other German words that sound amusing to English speakers even though the German meaning is completely unammusing. Take Schlagobers for instance.

It just means whipped cream.

I also had a lovely teacher at German school whose name when translated into Japanese means "cow"...

As I said. Need to grow up.

How not to sell a house

This post is appearing at the request of one of my readers, personally I think it's kind of boring but you're already here, so why not read it!

The following information is not guaranteed to be correct, just what we have found out through our own study and from talking to real estate agents in our area - not in Tokyo, please take all comments with proverbial grain of salt. 

Recently we have been investigating whether or not it would be a good idea to buy a house here. We have since decided that it would in fact not be a good idea for us at all given our situation, the town we live in and what we want to do in the future. However, during this fact finding exercise I learnt a few things that were rather interesting.

When you buy a house in any country, there are various costs in addition to the actual house price, eg. legal fees, bank fees etc. The agent we visited requires the purchaser to pay half of the real estate agents fees. The particular agent we visited requires 3% from the seller and 3% from the buyer. So they are supposedly in a neutral position...neutral my left foot. They are primarily working for the seller as they want to get the best price possible to increase their 6% of the sale price don't they, but the buyer still has to pay half of that. From my NZer point of view this makes me frustrated as in NZ it is the seller who pays the fees and gets the benefit of any increase in the price generated by the real estate agent.

How do they calculate the price you see on the adverts? Well apparently it is calculated from the price of the house when it was new plus the cost of the land and then the value of the building is devalued a certain percentage every year until 20 years when your house is effectively worth nothing and the price is mostly the cost of the land...ok so then we saw an advertisement for a house where you don't own the land, just a 30 year old house and they still wanted 50,000,000 yen for addition to paying the land owner 100,000/ year to rent the land... I'm not sure on what planet that is supposed to be a deal worth considering.

We visited a brand new house that had been built over a year ago and still hadn't been sold. It was in a central but not great location, had a hideous view of some rumpty dumpty tenement type apartment buildings and there was a vacant lot next door where someone would build in the future, possibly right smack bang in front of your lounge. Anyway, we said it was a nice house, but way too expensive given that there wasn't much difference between buying it and getting a built to order brand new one. Several weeks later the price is still the same. Which makes me wonder are they dreaming or what? In the meantime a perfectly nice house is going to waste.

I have also been looking at properties on the internet. Very little is done to make the house "ready for sale", there is a photo of the exterior and almost none of the interiors, though a floor plan is usually available. Fair enough. Now when they do provide photos of the rooms absolutely no effort has been made to clean up the clutter that these people seem to live with. There is junk every where, beds are unmade, unwashed dishes in the sink. It really is a huge turn off. One picture I saw even had someone asleep on one of the beds! When I look at a house, I want to be able to imagine what it would be like if I lived there - I certainly don't want "strangers" to be lying on the beds!

So now I just look at the houses for sale for fun. If you grew up in my family of semiprofessional house buyers and sellers, you would probably naturally start doing this too. Mostly I am thankful that I won't be buying a house in this particular part of Japan now as it feels like one super way to get shafted. I think it is a sad state of affairs when paying rent on an apartment for the next 10 years still leaves you way better off than buying a house that you intend to sell in the future.

In conclusion, with the guaranteed devaluation of properties, junk filled photos, slightly extortionist agents fees for buyers its a wonder that anyone manages to sell their properties here. I think they could all take a lesson from my Mum's book. She recently sold her house in under a week in a depressed market.

Was that boring enough for you? ; P If you are keen for more I still have a couple of boring posts up my sleeves.

Can't post anything

I haven't posted anything for a while, which doesn't mean I have been neglecting blogging at all. I've actually written quite a few posts and then not actually wanted to post them. So now they are sitting in my "to post list", going out of date and gathering cyber dust.

If anyone is interested to read my ramblings on the finer points of buying a used house (just like a used car) in semi-rural Tohoku or the sad state of affairs of the health system in semi-rurual Tohoku or a riveting post on how annoying I find squeaky high pitched voices, by all means let me know and I will post it just for you.

Today I went on a melon delivery run to two friends' houses. We got a mystery shipment of melons from K's family the other day. My friends were also confused as to why I would be bringing them melons at this time of year instead of the ubiquitous nashi. I did get some new rice in return which I am very much looking forward to eating.....mmmm new rice.

New rice is available from about now on and for me is one of the highlights of the gourmet year. If you have become enough of a rice connoisseur such as myself you really can taste the difference between the new and last year's harvest.

One of the low lights for this time of year for me is that I get hay fever from the "ブタクサ" or literally pigweed, which means I have to turn on my super sonic air cleaner and general all purpose floating bacteria remover machine. It has these cool lights on the front that chance colour to show you how dirty the air is. If you turn it on after you've just vacuumed it goes wild.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

This Week's Ikebana Attempt

It's been a while since my last post and a while since my last trip to Ikebana. Because of the typhoon to end all typhoons last week (or so the news reports were saying), we decided to cancel last week's class as the drive across town in the pouring rain and howling wind didn't appeal to me or my teacher or the other student who has to drive for ages to get there too.

Today I was on my own and we practiced an arrangement I have to recreate at a test in about 2 weeks. There is a monthly test you have to attend if you want to improve your level and get "certified". On test day you go along and make your arrangement during the set time and then a big sensei goes around and gives a score out of 100 for each arrangement. Getting 100 is very rare, so to get 95 is really good. 90 is good and 85 is ok but not great. Now I am getting up into the higher levels, fewer 95s will be coming my way.

Today's arrangement uses gerberas, kangaroo paw and Japanese sword fern.

Today's afternoon tea was chocolate cake and coffee, which was excellent as always.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Dusting might possibly be my new favourite type of house work

 I have been following the news reports on TV today about the typhoon which is currently on it's way through Honshuu and passed pretty near here.. The wind and rain arrived last night at precisely the moment I got into bed and was trying to sleep. The wind comes and hits the wall right outside our bedroom. I did manage to sleep but was also rudely awakened at 7am by the heaviest rain I have ever seen in my life and I used to live in the wettest place in NZ with 7 metres of rain a year. So I got up and decided to try and enjoy it instead of lying in bed and cursing it.

Now today I happened to turn on the lunch time TV show called Omoikkiri DON! It kind of grates me how they like to shout out "DON!!!" a lot on this show. Today I noticed they have a new set for the show which I like as the last one had windows in the back where the general public could walk past and peer in. There was always this one guy who came EVERY DAY, and tried to get on camera. Personally I don't know who is sadder, him or me!
Anyway, today they were talking about how to make house work easier and specifically dusting.
I have been putting off the dusting for a while so I decided to try out their new fangled way this afternoon.
Take a bucket or large bowl, put some warm water in it along with about a teaspoon worth of conditioner and mix around so it dissolves. Then take your dusting cloth and wet it, wring it out well and then go dust.
I usually get annoyed with dusting a dark dark brown book shelf type piece of furniture because bits of dust aways get left behind. But today after the conditoner rag treatment, there is not a speck of dust left and it is actually shining!
So am very impressed with this idea. I hope you will try it out.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Day 2

This morning was a harsh awakening from the sugary high of yesterday. K went to work, which means I have to get on top of the mountain of house work that has piled up during my "I'm the Birthday Girl, so I don't have to clean" phase that has been going on for the last 4 days.

Today I battled my way through cheap vegetable market day at the supermarket and got drenched as it started to pour down just as I was going from the library to the coffee bean shop. We are now gearing up for a typhoon which is due here tomorrow lunch time. Woo hoo!
I know, I know, typhoons are dangerous and disrupt people's travel plans and destroy crops and stuff. But I have cleared my calendar for tomorrow so I can stay home and enjoy the rain from my cozy and warm second story apartment. I did mention how I love extreme weather, especially when I am safe at home. So all you people out there who do have to leave the house tomorrow, take care - or you could call in sick.

Now today I discovered a new product in the supermarket: specifically salmon flakes that come in a jar. It's only a new product to me, this stuff has been around for ages, but the mind boggles at all the potential uses for this stuff. They also make Torisoboro - think I am going to have to get me some of that good stuff.

Tonight's dinner includes the following:
Rustic Pumpkin Soup
the Salmon flakes I mentioned before, Mushroom and leek patties made with nagaimo or long potato.
some kind of dish involving spinach since I brought rather a lot at the supermarket today...any suggestions?

Being 30, Day 1

So I'm sure everyone is dying to hear how my first day of being 30 went. Well it was fairly pleasant.
In the morning I treated myself to Mon Buran Purin for breakfast! I got driven to work in style by K who had gallantly decided to remain at home because he didn't feel well. In th afternoon I went to the hair salon and got 500 yen off the price cause I made sure to mention it was my birthday. Turns out the guy who cuts my hair is 2 days younger than me!

On the way home I stopped at the cake shop and chose my pieces of birthday cake. I brought 2 cause they were both minuscule. One "rare cheesecake" and one "mon buran" - I know mon buran again, but I've got to get my fill before they disappear when winter comes.

When I got home the milk lady had been and I found a present in the delivery box....a box of silken tofu....interesting. Surely Purin would be a much better idea Milk Delivery People!!!

Now I may have over done it on the birthday cake thing as I was feeling a bit seedy afterwards.
So even though I am a big grown up, I still don't know when to stop eating sugary cakey goodness.

Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. 

Monday, 5 October 2009

Turning 30

Tomorrow is a big day for me. I will be turning 30. Darling husband's reaction is that he is sad his wife won't be in her twenties anymore...kind of a status symbol here perhaps?

Most of my good friends are already 30 or older so I should know by now that life doesn't change that much, and perhaps even gets better for many people.

So today I will review my life until now, and attempt to come up with 29 things I am proud about, in no particular order (It was going to be 30 but I was really struggling for the last 10 as you will see so I decided to make it 29):

1) Graduated Uni with double degree paid for by myself (mostly) and now also proud owner of a graduate diploma too.
2) Have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 2.
3) Have been very happily married for the last 5 years
4) Have survived the passing away of my dearly loved father
5) Can speak two foreign languages reasonable well, although my own language is becoming somewhat mangled with each passing year
6) Have an instructor certificate to teach Ikebana
7) Have been to nearly every country I want to visit in the world (with the exception of Egypt, Turkey and Sweden)
8) I can put on a kimono and a summer kimono better than many Japanese people
9) I can make a mean loaf of bread these days
10) I have hiked The Milford, The Greenstone, The Routeburn and The Hollyford tracks and The Tongariro Crossing and climbed Mt Ruapehu.
11) I have tried abseiling, horse riding, rafting, canyoning even though I am the world's most cautious person
12) I can ski well.
13) Had my Licensed Premises Managers Certificate when I was 21.
14) I can open a bottle of wine or champagne perfectly every time
15) I have learnt to be more patient...however this does not mean I am a patient person yet. But I can now wait until 10am on Christmas morning to open presents.
16) I was Head Girl at my high school (although that seems like such a long time in the past now!)
17) I got my first job when I was 10.
18) I have done hatsumode (the first prayer of the new year) in Kyoto
19) I have made several million....yen
20) K suggested I put that his family likes me more than they like him. ;)
21) Some babies don't scream and even smile when I pick them up
22) I have developed the ability to occasionally read my husband's mind
23) My only addiction is carbohydrates
24) I have driven on the right hand side of the road and didn't crash
25) I can use chopsticks really really well
26) I can occasionally "read the air" - understand what is unspoken
27) I know how to prepare a whole squid
28) I have a nice relationship with the Pelican delivery people29) I can usually walk by Mr Donuts without going inside, and if I do go inside, I almost never actually buy donuts.

Ok so as you see I was really struggling with the last few , ok 10 or so, but you get the idea.

K and I have had a pre-birthday present opening session tonight as he will be going to work tomorrow morning and I didn't want to have to wait until tomorrow night to open them.  Will post some pictures tomorrow if I get a chance.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Universe has spoken

Today is supposed to be K's company's annual Sports Day. Due to the economic down turn, things are tight this year so there is no Sports Day. Instead of today reverting back to a regular work day, today is officially a day off. So K decided to take advantage of having a week day off to go and play some cheap golf.

I, on the other hand am still languishing at home with a cold that can't make up its mind to get better or worse - for the last 3 days I have felt just crappy enough to feel miserable whilst trying to get through my daily routine, but not crappy enough to spend whole day in bed doing nothing.

On top of that, it is raining. So I am thinking that the universe is perhaps trying to tell me that I should just stay home and tuck myself up in bed with a box of tissues and a book. K will be getting soaked to the bone, hopefully not catching pneumonia - I wonder if playing golf in the pissing rain is worth not having to pay full price...

Several Hours later:

K is home now having played "the worst game of golf ever", due to the rain that hosed down the entire time right from the minute he started. He has however, redeemed himself somewhat with ME by bringing home dinner (in the form of a giant tray of sushi) AND more importantly he has brought home Hagen Daas ice cream for me, which is a very unusual event indeed!  Well, we are currently in a month long observance of my birthday, an excellent excuse to be demanding and unreasonable if I feel like it.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Workin in my PJs

 I am very lucky I have a job where I can work in my PJs if I like. Tonight I am feeling a tad sick, my voice is getting croaky, I feel a cold coming on. So I am very grateful for being able to do my work and nobody is the wiser that I am wearing pink flannel PJs and pink fluffy slippers, no make-up and hugging a hot water bottle.  I am also grateful that I can work and not have to take time off because its a bad look to go to work with the lurgy and possibly infect all your co-workers and everyone else you encounter and have everyone asking you if you have swine flu. Perhaps you might think it slightly "unprofessional", to wear one's PJ whilst working, but as long as my voice is suitably cheerful, I can look like I crawled out from under a bus and it doesn't matter.
Oh, BTW I'm not one of those cold caller Telemarketers, don't worry.
I have worked in a call centre for a government department and had to listen to so much abuse I only lasted a few months there before I quit. A sensitve soul I am.

Now about my other (unpaid) job, the one where I cook and clean for my husband and myself.
Tonight was a Housewife Extravaganza on the telly. On one channel we had Kazuyo Matsui - Mrs Charisma Housewife herself showing us around her (all white) house and giving us a run down on her cleaning and storage habits. My Goodness!I'm wondering if she might just have taken a few too many happy pills as she seemed to enjoy talking to inanimate objects rather a lot...and the smiling whilst you are cleaning?
She cleans her shoe box out once a week. - I would be lucky if that gets done ever - actually my husband doesn't even need a shoe box, the entrance is just dandy for storing his shoes. She doesn't like to have personal possessions on any surface that needs to be cleaned because they would get in the way of her cleaning....I live with someone who likes to have all their personal possessions where he can see them, so obviously my rabbit hutch apartment is going to have to have the "cluttered look" for a while. I have managed to encourage husband to shave in the bathroom instead of living room and we are working on the putting things back where they came from thing.
On the other channel was the economical and fast cooking competition where various people battled to cook recipes with left overs or low cost ingredients in only a few minutes. A show very close to my cooking averse heart.This time I wasn't so impressed with the recipes. I didn't feel the need to go out and buy more Koyadofu (do you guys remember when I made that meal that tasted like dish sponge?). Actually I can't even look at the stuff without recalling exactly how bad it was. That is how traumatised I was by that meal.
Now if you want to see some pretty food, check out my Ikebana teacher's blog. She cooks fabulous stuff like this every night.